“What will you give me if I deliver him to you?’ And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.” (Matthew 26:15-16)
If Judas had not gone to the Jews, they would have on their own found a way to arrest Jesus. Judas only made it easy for them. This is why Jesus said: “The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24)
I can only imagine the pain Jesus felt in our Gospel passage knowing that someone who shared the same plate with him was going to betray him. This is the pain Jesus feels when we Christians take exploit our closeness to Him for personal gains.
At the home of Martha and Mary, Judas Iscariot protested the expensive ointment Mary used in anointing Jesus’ feet. He said: “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (John 12:5). In other words, Judas gave the impression of one who deeply cared for the poor meanwhile all he cared for was the money.
The question is: “Was Judas Iscariot always like this?” Perhaps, he started very well but along the line began to deviate. In one of His parables Jesus describes the good seed that fell among thorns saying: “This is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.” (Matthew 13:22)
As men and women of God, it is very easy for us to fall into this situation. This is one reason the church demands the vow of poverty from its clerics and religious. Without a sense of detachment, we could become like seeds sown among thorns; we could become like Judas Iscariot.
In today’s first reading, Isaiah prophesies the fate of Jesus – one who betrayed by a trusted friend. He is silent, He turns not backward, He gives His back to those who strike Him and His cheeks to those who pulled out the beard. He does not hide His face from shame and spitting.
Jesus had the power to stop Judas Iscariot but He didn’t. Jesus only tried to speak to Judas’ conscience by revealing that one of them would betray Him but Judas hardened his heart. God speaks to our conscience, He does not force His way on us. This way, we become completely responsible for our choices in life.
Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Every time we fail to let our light shine as God’s children for the sake of money, we are literally betraying Jesus. We don’t have to disobey God’s commandments, lie, steal, kill etc. for the sake of money. Jesus said, whatever you want, just ask, seek and knock and it would be provided. (Matthew 7:7).
God owns everything in this world and He knows we desire to live a good life. He is not an irresponsible Father who would let His children have a snake when they ask for fish. Trust God to provide what is needed in His own time. Do not turn money into your god.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, free me from greed that I may truly worship you. Amen.
(Wednesday of the Holy Week. Bible Study: Isaiah 50:4-9, Psalm 69 and Matthew 26:14-25).